Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Day 218 of self-isolation - The Welsh dyke

The Welsh dyke

From Friday 23rd October until 9th November, Wales is going into a stay-at-home lockdown. It's pretty much the same lockdown that we all did last March and April. Pubs and restaurants will close, but nurseries will stay open, primary schools will reopen after half-term, and in secondary schools, years 7 and 8 will return.

A lot of people are saying that the rest of the country should do the same thing - there isn't any kind of wall between Wales an England. Offa's Dyke is no longer a barrier. 

The UK is still running around 20k new cases per day, which is very high, and pressure is building up on the hospital system.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Day 217 of self-isolation - Data protection

Data protection

If you want to stop people from installing the tracking app and from taking a test, what do you think would be the best way to persuade people to avoid getting tested and not install the app?


Tell them that the police will have access to this data.

So, obviously no sane government would ... what? They did? You're kidding.

Yes. They did.

It's almost as good as allowing Special Advisors and MPs to be exempt from the rules that the rest of us follow.

So how would someone avoid this police surveillance? Simple - they would avoid being tested, and avoid installing the app.

The rules on self-isolation are good. The tracing would be a good idea if only is worked. But discouraging people by opening this channel to the police, is a seriously dumb idea. 

I've install the app on my iPhone 7 (my iPhone 6 couldn't handle it). But will I keep it? I don't know. Sixteen million people have installed the app, which is only 25% of the population, and we need more than 60%. But will people who haven't installed it so far, get it?

Now hear this. The app isn't going to give information to the police, but the tracing service can. It's a fine distinction. The app tells you that you've been  in contact with an infected person, so you go get tested (or else you don't) and at that point, you're on the radar.

It's just another bungle.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Day 216 of self-isolation - Manchester


Manchester is currently at level 2. Boris wants them to be at level 3. The mayor, Andy Burnham is threatening legal action of that's imposed on the area. But the real problem wouldn't be the legal action, it would be if Mancunians refuse to comply - how will they force this? The police will follow the law, obviously, but if they are faced with mass disobedience, then what?

It's become a big row. And the rest of the country, currently at level 2, is watching, because what happens there, could happen elsewhere. 

Daily UK deaths are up to 150, a level not seen since last June, with new cases at 16,171 and there is increasing pressure to have the "circuit breaker".    


Saturday, 17 October 2020

Day 215 of self-isolation - Manchester is revolting

Manchester is revolting

Andy Burnham is the mayor of Manchester, and he rejects the government's decision  to put Manchester into "very high" lockdown status. He's demanding that 80% of wages be paid for closed businesses.

Can he do that?

Probably not, in law. But the lockdown relies on the cooperation of citizens. There aren't enough jails in the whole country to lock up all the people who might refuse.

Right now, about half the country is rated as high or very high. And I can't help feeling that there are two causes.

The first cause was the "Eat out to help out" scheme, which encouraged people to go back to restaurants, where you HAVE to take your mask off to eat. And the second cause has been the scheme whereby teenagers are crammed together into buildings - also known as "student hostels". Maybe that first idea wasn't as good as they thought, and result of the second action was rather inevitable.

 Burnham is also asking for the "circuit breaker" lockdown; I already explained why I don't think that will do as much as some people hope.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Day 214 of self-isolation - London is high risk

London is high risk

It's just as well we got our visit done last week, because London is now high risk. You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. This includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants.

We can meet outdoors, in a group of 6 or less (including children). But it isn't summer now, and if it rains, it's going to be pretty miserable. And it'll get colder as winter draws on.

But just look at the numbers. 138 new deaths, and 18980 new infections Thursday; a similar number the day before with 137 new deaths and 19722 new infections. 

We're not in London; our area is still "medium risk", but I think that's only a matter of time.

So, we hunker down.

I've been taking 2000 IU of vitamin D each day. I'm going to start taking 15mg of zinc supplements. They cost £1.50 for 60 from Waitrose, and they're one of the things they gave Trump. I did a bit of research, and being low on zinc does make it worse. I don't know if I am low on zinc, but for 2.5p per day, it seems like a sensible precaution. The recommended dose is 11mg/day, so 15 is about right.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Day 213 of self-isolation - the third wave

The third wave

UK is in the second wave, and it's looking worse and worse. 137 deaths today, and 19,724 new cases. That means that new cases are still growing at a horribly fast rate, and are now FOUR times as many as they were in April. Remember April? How it felt like the apocalypse?


Of course, now the NHS is much better at treating the virus than they were when it hit them out of the blue last March. We learned. We have treatments that we know can help. But still - there will be fatalities. And if the hospitals are swamped, the percentage of fatalities will soar. Remember "protect the NHS"?

But Iran is in the third wave. Yes, there can be a third wave.

Right now, in the UK we're trying to control the second wave, and so far, no success, as you can see from the graph. Perhaps success will come? Maybe. 

Keir Starmer is suggesting a "circuit breaker", a period of two weeks in which we all lock down 100%, as suggested by SAGE. Would this help?

In theory, yes. If everyone stays away from everyone else, the number of cases plummets dramatically. But that won't happen. First of all, there are all the "critical workers", like Bob who drives the Ocado van, and Yusuf who drives the Waitrose van. And the transport workers, and the NHS workers, and so on and so on.

But there are also the "covidiots" who think that the rules don't apply to them, like Dominic  Cummings and  Margaret Ferrier. They have undermined confidence in the government more than they realise. So how many people will follow the example of Cummings and Ferrier? Rather too many, I think.

The "circuit breaker" in an electrical circuit, stops all electricity from flowing. The Covid
"circuit breaker" is only going to be partial. Will it be enough? No. Because when the
"circuit breaker" is switched off again, we're back to where we are now.

What we need is the vaccine.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Day 212 of self-isolation - Computer repair

Computer repair

One of my servers has been rebooting, about once per month. This is annoying, but not devastating. However, I decided to have a look at it.

When a computer acts like this, these are the likely causes, in order of likelihood

1. Fan

2. Memory

3. Power supply

4. Motherboard

5. CPU


Fans are mechanical, and wear out . It's easy to spot when a fan isn't working, because the fan isn't working. In this case, all the fans were working.

Memory gives up after several years. I don't know the exact cause, but I suspect cosmic rays. I have a memory test program - in this case, it passed the test .

Power supplies have a lot of electronic components. The fans can wear out (which is obvious) or a capacitor can weaken. I have a PSU tester; when I plugged it in, it beeped many times and told me that the 3.3 volt supply was all over the place. So I think that was the problem. I replaced the PSU, and put the computer back on the rack.

Motherboards fail with the capacitors. CPUs hardly ever fail. The only way I know of testing a motherboard or CPU is to replace it. I bought a whole bunch of motherboards, CPUs and memory on eBay for £20 each, and they will last me quite a long time.